Who will be the PS3 NCAA Football 09 cover athlete?

Posted April 17th, 2008 at 5:12 pm

On Tuesday I went over the top candidates for the Madden 09 cover. That, along with the PS3 cover of NCAA Football 09, are expected to be announced late next week. With the most obvious cover athlete candidate Darren McFadden already announced as exclusive to the 360 it opens up the opportunity for another high profile player to take the PS3 cover. EA Sports has stated that each cover will represent a different region so with McFadden the south is already taken. Lets look at the most likely candidates.

QBs: Matt Ryan (East), Brian Brohm (Central), Dennis Dixon & Colt Brennan (West)
RBs: Jonathan Stewart (West), Rashard Mendenhall (Central/North)
WRs: DeSean Jackson (West)
Defense: Chris Long (East), Glenn Dorsey (South)

In all likelihood EA will seek another highly recognizable name for the PS3 version. It, along with the 360 version, will by far get the most promotion. In contrast it wouldn’t surprise me if the PS2 cover went to a player from an FCS school. Dorsey can be eliminated due to his proximity to McFadden and EA’s statement that there will be different regions represented on each cover. DeSean Jackson has the best chance at wide receiver and provided excitement on the field but may not be a big enough name.

Look to Matt Ryan, Rashard Mendenhall, and Chris Long as the odds on favorites. They all come from different regions than McFadden and are expected to go in the top 15 of the draft. Mendenhall may be the least likely of the three given that they’ve already selected a running back for the 360 cover and they may want to differentiate between the two.

Generally it would be tough to justify putting a defensive player on the cover of NCAA Football. Only one has even made it and that was Charles Woodson in 1999. Most collegiate defensive players aren’t recognizable to the general public in the way that a QB or RB is. Chris Long has some more exposure though given his dad, Howie, is an NFL Hall of Famer and studio analyst on Fox.

If you go by the ghosted cover art that EA has on the game’s official website the player appears to be a QB. Now, the placeholder cover is usually not the silhouette of the eventual cover athlete. Interestingly though they do have a different one for each of the covers yet to be announced instead of just one generic silhouette. So for the sake of discussion I went through looking at different images of the QBs that may be considered for the cover. It looks as though the two that fit are Matt Ryan and Dennis Dixon, with strong leanings toward Ryan. I especially concentrated on the off-hand which is rather distinctive. Take a look at the two images of the players below. Others such as Brian Brohm and Colt Brennan don’t seem to match up.

So when it comes down to it the PS3 cover athlete will probably boil down to Matt Ryan vs Chris Long. Given the placeholder cover (which may be more than a coincidence here) and the prestige position he plays Ryan tops the list with Long the runner-up.